PITA Fiscal Year 2007 Projects

Courses and Outreach Programs

Project Olympus: Start-Up Phase
Project Olympus is an interactive, interdisciplinary, and open collaborative Research, Education and Development Incubator Lab designed to create and sustain Next Generation Computing innovation for Western Pennsylvania. Its mission is to establish a magnet for attracting a new wave of technology company labs, to stimulate a burst of new business creation opportunities in the region, and to broaden/increase participation and career opportunities for the region’s students. Project Olympus interfaces between the academic and the technology business sectors and builds on, and enhances, the expertise and resources available from both arenas. Essential ingredients to support this initiative are already in place; a world class high-tech research university; a state government promoting regional growth; local organizations supporting new ventures and regional strategies; the recent locating of major high-tech company offices in the region and start-ups that have taken root.

The operational mechanism for driving this initiative is an “incubator” lab that runs a series of focused PROBEs (PROBlem-oriented Explorations) bringing together post-graduate Olympus Scholars, students and researchers with business and domain experts from academia, industry and national laboratories to collaborate on areas of common interest. Guidance from business leaders –on transforming research results into products and services, and new enterprises—serves to foster and sustain the initiative for the long term. PITA funds will help support a Start-up Phase PROBE on “Human Computation” that would investigate how to utilize the vast processing power of humans using the Internet and to develop a theoretical foundation for this work. This PROBE will develop “Games with a Purpose,” games whose end products would, for example, enable seeing-impaired individuals “to see” the images on the Web.